Uluslararası PEN Yazar Nevin Berktaş’ın Yanındadır

19 Aralık 2010, Pazar

Dünya Yazarlar Birliği PEN’in Hapisteki Yazarlar Komitesi Uluslararası Başkanı Marian Botsford Fraser Adalet Bakanı Sadullah Ergin’e mektup yazarak Türkiye’nin “fikir ve ifade özgürlüğü” bağlamında imza koyduğu uluslararası antlaşmalara uygun davranması gereğini hatırlattı. 17 Aralık 2010 tarihli mektubunda Fraser bir kitabından ötürü on ay hapse mahkûm edilen Nevin Berktaş’ın serbest bırakılmasını talep etti. Hapiste 21 yıl tutulan Nevin Berktaş “yanlış hesaplamadan ötürü devletten altı yıl alacaklı” konumda. “İnancın Sınandığı Zor Mekânlar: Hücreler” adlı kitabından ötürü mahkemeye çıkarılan Nevin Berktaş devletten altı yıl alacağı olduğunu belirtmiş, on ay ceza kararının bu çerçevede değerlendirilmesini istemişti. Nevin Berktaş 12 Eylül askerî dikta dönemindeki hapishane şartlarıyla ilgili değerlendirmesinde “yasadışı örgüt propagandası yaptığı ” gerekçesiyle halen İstanbul Bakırköy Cezaevi’nde.

Uluslararası PEN dünyadaki 145 PEN merkezinin iletişiminin de katkısıyla halen 900 yazarın durumu ile ilgileniyor.



Uluslararası PEN’den Adalet Bakanı’na Mektup:

Mr Sadullah Ergin

Minister of Justice

06669 Kizilay

Ankara

Turkey



Dear Mr Ergin,

I write as Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN, the world association of writers founded in 1921 to promote literature, and which today has 145 Centres in 104 countries across the globe. We do this through the promotion of literature, international campaigning on issues such as translation and freedom of expression and improving access to literature at international, regional and national levels.

With urgency, I wish to draw your attention to the case of the writer Nevin Berktaş, who was arrested on 2 November 2010 and is currently, and unjustly, imprisoned in Istanbul Bakirkoy Prison. She is serving a 10-month sentence for offences related to views expressed in her book, Inancin Sinandigi Zor Mekanlar: Hucreler.

The book was published in 2000, while the writer was in prison, and, as we understand it, Berktaş faced four separate trials as a result. Three of her trials resulted in cash fines or acquittals, but one, where she was tried for ‘aiding and abetting a terrorist organization,’ resulted in a guilty verdict and a four-year prison sentence. Following a change in the law, Berktaş’ lawyer requested a retrial of the case, after which the prison sentence was changed to a suspended sentence.

Berktaş was released in 2007, after serving thirteen years in prison. Previously, between 1983 and 1991, she had served another prison sentence of eight years. After her release, her lawyer was able to demonstrate that, due to an administrative error, Berktaş had served 5 years and 7 months longer in prison that she should have done.

After Berktaş’ release in 2007, the Inancin Sinandigi Zor Mekanlar: Hucreler case was re-tried once again and she was convicted and sentenced to ten months in prison under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (propaganda for an illegal organization). As we understand it, her lawyer applied to the Prosecutor's Office to have this sentence annulled because of the almost 6 extra years Berktaş had already spent in prison. 

According to information we have received, the Prosecutor's Office was in the process of reviewing this application – and had not completed the process - when an arrest warrant was issued for the writer and she was detained.

Nevin Berktaş is fifty-two years old, and, having spent twenty-one years in prison, she is in bad health. She has already spent more time in prison than her sentences required, and her imprisonment is punishment for views expressed in her book.

Given that Turkey is committed as a signatory to both Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights – both of which guarantee the right to freedom of expression – I urge you, as a matter of urgency, to consider the case of Nevin Berktaş, and to release her from prison.

Yours sincerely,

Marian Botsford Fraser

Chair

Writers in Prison Committee

International PEN

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